IODINE – FACTS AND FALLACIES
Most of our iodine is stored in the thyroid gland but did you know that iodine is also present in breast tissue, the stomach, skin and other places?
According to micro nutritionists, most of our diseases are affected by a deficiency of minerals, vitamins, enzymes and other key nutrients. If we correct the nutritional shortfall we can theoretically recover from the ailment. How about iodine? We take thyroid hormones when the metabolism slows down, yet still complain about weak finger nails, heart burn, stomach ulcers, fibrocystic breasts, polycystic ovaries, dry skin, a dry mouth and even dry eyes. We get cancer, take antibiotics to fight off infections and suffer from estrogen imbalances. Is this potpourri of maladies somehow linked to the protective and functional roles that iodine plays in human health?
To most of us, a healthy iodine status is a misnomer. We take it for granted that the traces we ingest from salt are sufficient unto the day and top up with kelp tablets from time to time. Such a casual approach does not supply enough iodine to fight off infections or control hormones. It cannot protect us from cancer, fibrocystic breast disease or ovarian cysts. So we revert to drugs, surgery and hormonal intervention yet we fail to check up on our iodine status.
Fortunately these days some doctors do understand just how important our iodine status is. They are what we call: iodine literate and have overcome the “iodophobia” that has infected the logic of medical practice until recently. So if you need to check up on just how well you are ingesting and responding to iodine consider the advice and treatments for which Dr David Brownstein has become so well known. (www.drbrownstein.com) Dr Jonathan V. Wright is another very pro-active iodine researcher who recommends not only daily supplementation with iodine but also specific treatment for acute or chronic conditions. (www.fsphealth.co.za)
What Has Happened to Our Iodine Reserves?
If potassium iodide levels are too low the thyroid gland swells up to absorb more of it from the bloodstream. At below 150 mcg a day, iodine is seriously lacking and the neck swells up to form a goitre as a desperate attempt to absorb more iodine from the bloodstream. We cannot get enough iodine from iodated salt. We are told to cut out salt at the best of times and only 10% of this iodine is active due to the competing effect of chloride from the salt.
The bromide that is present in bread and all grain-based products that contain this pesticide ousts our iodine. Chlorine from water also lowers our iodine status. Fluoride present in water, antidepressants (like prozac), mouthwash or toothpaste also drives out the iodine and hence people complain of a dry mouth or a lack of saliva and even dry eyes. A lack of saliva (dry mouth) increases the extent of tooth decay, mouth infections and bad breath. So why do we use fluoride? The chief iodine thieves are: chlorine, bromide and fluoride. With no incoming iodine and daily iodine depletion we become increasingly iodine deficient.
How much Iodine do we Really Need?
How much iodine is required for optimal health? Dr Brownstein says that the RDA of 150-200 mcg of iodine is hopelessly inadequate to maintain all its functions in the body. The thyroid gland needs 6 mg a day, the breasts need 5 mg and at least another 2 mg are required in other areas such as the skin and the stomach’s parietal cells where hydrochloric acid is made. When an adequate iodine status has been achieved he tells us that iodine can reach breast tissue, fat cells and striated muscle tissue. Iodine binds to antiproliferative iodolipids (fat+iodine) to control cancer. This does not happen if we are iodine deficient, so we get cancer.
One of the best methods to determine your iodine status is a 24 hour iodine loading test. Firstly a urine sample is taken and then you are given a 50 mg dose of iodine. After 24 hours another urine sample will indicate how much iodine was taken up. Some people suggest painting a patch of iodine onto your skin. This is not an accurate assessment as iodine is pH sensitive. The more acidic the skin, the quicker the stain disappears! (Now you know how to get rid of iodine marks – just wipe them away with a vitamin C solution or lemon juice). Do not take iodine with anything acidic because it nullifies the antimicrobial effects.
Iodine supplementation is safe enough because excessive iodine will be removed by the kidneys every day. Lugol’s iodine solution can be obtained from health shops and pharmacies. It is a combination of potassium iodide and elemental iodine in an aqueous solution. The average dose is 2-3 drops, once or twice a day as recommended by a knowledgeable pharmacist or doctor. It can be applied to the skin and absorbed that way. In some countries a comprehensive iodine supplement in tablet form is available.
Not everybody tolerates seaweed of shellfish which cause more iodine allergies as opposed to mineral-based sources. A new deodorant cream is now available that contains iodine. It can be applied underarm and massaged into breast tissue. However, when one is fighting infections, alkalising or warding off cancer and correcting hormone ratios, a lot more iodine is required from time to time. To the degree that iodine is not available to undertake such critical tasks, we get into trouble.
Iodine Kills Bacteria, Mould, Viruses and Other Microbes
Every 17 minutes our blood flows over the iodine that is stored in the thyroid gland to control microbes and pathogens. E coli and Helicobacter pylori are initially zapped by this stash of iodine. If there is none and you eat infected food, you come down with a stomach bug accompanied by vomiting and diarrhoea. When Helicobacter pylori gets the upper hand, stomach ulcers develop. We take antibiotics for these conditions yet fail to treat the iodine deficiency.
Stomach acid cannot maintain a bug-zapping intensity because iodine is an essential ingredient of stomach acid. Sodium chloride + iodine = good strong hydrochloric acid. Pass the salt! Hair loss, weak fingernails and poor food assimilation improves when the stomach acid becomes more intense. Heartburn is due to too much stomach acid that is too weak to kill microbes, let alone help to digest and assimilate your food or chelate any calcium out of it. Taking loads of antacids and inhibiting stomach acid production do not treat an iodine deficiency.
Iodine thus kills microbes in the bloodstream and it is one of our primary infection fighters. This is why it is also present in our nasal and respiratory passages. Constant respiratory (colds and flu) or gut infections (vomiting, nausea or diarrhoea) indicate low iodine reserves long before thyroid hormone deficiencies show up and the body slows down. Iodine is required to make thyroid hormones to keep our metabolic rate optimal. If not, the body temperature becomes too low and once again, opportunistic microbes invade our tissues and are often to blame for chronic fatigue and aches and pains we refer to as fibromyalgia.
Iodine is a Girl’s “Breast” Friend
How does an iodine deficiency affect breast cancer? Toxins gather into lumps that are acidic and contain microbial infestations. If iodine is not present to neutralise acidity and kill bacteria and other mycotoxins that migrate there, they start to multiply. Cells divide excessively and grow into tumours when iodine is not actively modifying hormonal effects on cell receptors. According to the research of Dr Benjamin Eskin, breast cells that lacked iodine appeared to be more likely to become abnormal, precancerous or cancerous.
A major source of pathogenic material in breasts comes from mycotoxins when there is a deficiency of beneficial gut flora. When a biofilm develops around this microbial bundle of mischief it escapes the vigilance of the immune system. If a breast that contains such a biofilm is exposed to radiation (mammograms or X rays) then strands of DNA are damaged. The estrogen present in fat cells sets off cell proliferation to repair it. If iodine can’t be there to control the cell dividing messengers then we get more of those “lumps”.
Iodine kills cancerous cells without killing off normal cells. Iodine does not weaken your immune system, make you nauseous or cause your hair to fall out. It helps to break down cell proliferating forms of estrogen that accumulate there from sources such as HRT, environmental estrogens (xenoestrogens), soya-based products and other phyto estrogens. Is the average case of breast cancer a killer disease or an iodine deficiency?
Iodine is a built-in deodorant. 20% of the iodine we need is used in skin cells. Lack of iodine in the sweat glands manifests as dry skin with a decreased ability to sweat. After a bath or shower we immediately apply a deodorant. Why? Because chlorine removes the iodine in sweat glands. It should be there to control odour from bacteria. It is normal to sweat and excrete metabolic waste substances like urea on the skin. Bacteria grows here very quickly and so, ideally, iodine should control it and maintain the pH balance.
Perspiration or should we say sweat, is an excretory process that naturally tips out waste material. If we inhibit perspiration the waste builds up in lymph tissue under the arms and is as we know, very close to the breasts. Should we use iodine as a deodorant? It’s pretty obvious. An iodine-based cream deodorant helps to solve iodine deficiencies at the scene of the crime and it is easily absorbed for further applications within breast tissue.
An iodine deficiency is also directly proportionate to the presence and amount of cysts in the ovaries. In its extreme form, this condition is known as polycystic ovarian disease. Fibrocystic breast disease (painful breasts with nodules and cysts) is another iodine deficiency that responds very well to iodine treatment. Doctor Jonathan Wright witnessed a colleague of his using iodine to treat ladies who were suffering from fibrocystic breast disease at a medical conference. The iodine was applied to their vaginal mucosa. Within 30 minutes they were free from most of the pain and swelling. A few weeks later their breasts became normal after daily iodine supplementation.
Iodine is easily absorbed by the skin and mucous membranes or it can be taken in supplement form. For convenience you can place a few drops of Lugol’s iodine onto a brewer’s yeast tablet. You can make yourself a supply of these and take one or two a day. A lady who did this was delighted to see her large, lumpy and swollen breasts return to normal and her fears of having cancer were unfounded. Taking more vitamin B6 thereafter decreased her premenstrual breast discomfort.
A Good Way to Prevent Cancer is to Understand What Iodine Does
Cells have thousands of estrogen receptors. There are two types; alpha and beta and they are like switches that react to a hormonal signal. The alpha receptor is the on, or divide switch and it favours acidity. Cancer is basically a potent form of estrogen (16- or 17- type) engaging fully on the links of an alpha receptor that initiates cell division in order to repair damaged areas. To shut down this activity, the environment needs to become more alkaline so that oxygenation can take place. Then the beta estrogen receptor can engage with the cancer fighting 2- or weaker estrogens like estriol to switch off the cell division when the job is done.
Iodine is a potent alkalising agent and helps to oxygenate areas that may become prone to cancer when acidity is present. Furthermore iodine actually breaks down the complex 16- or 17- forms of estrogen into simpler 2- estrogens that help to prevent cancer and fibrocystic disease. Iodine binds to fat and produces antiproliferative lipids from fatty acids that are present in breast tissue. With the help of a healthy immune system iodine helps to destroy cancerous cells, yet leaves the normal cells intact.
Maintaining a favourable colony of beneficial gut bacteria also speeds up the break down of complex estrogen to maintain a favourable 2/16 (good versus bad) estrogen ratio. A urine test can indicate if you have a dominance of harmful 16- estrogen. This is a less invasive way to see if you are becoming vulnerable to breast and other forms of cancer. By maintaining a healthy population of beneficial gut flora we can also facilitate the 2/16 estrogen ratio. It is a fallacy that the yeast we call candida is a “disease.” It is the food of your probiotic strains! It is only when you wipe out good bacteria with antibiotics or herbs like echinacea, golden seal or oregano that this candida yeast becomes a problem. Candida then decomposes into over 71 deadly forms of fungus and moulds (candidiasis) that can migrate to breast tissue and other places.
What about parabens and breast cancer, you may be wondering? The reason a paraben would be found in breast tissue would be due to pathogens such as bacteria and mycotoxins that are the real cancer culprit! Parabens are large group of organic acids found in nature and they feed off mycotoxins. They are present in mangoes, grenadillas, green tea, cocoa and even strawberries! They serve as natural organic preservatives by consuming the waste material derived from the breakdown of yeasts such as candida albicans.
There is no conclusive evidence that parabens can cause cancer. 90% of the parabens that are present in breast tissue come from food sources. The antimicrobial role of parabens is similar to that of iodine. The hormonal activity of a paraben is hardly an estrogen disruptor! Estrogen disruptors are the complex or 16- based estrogens, such as xenoestrogens that have a bad reputation. The good guys are the weak estrogens, especially the isoflavones that we call SERMS (selective estrogen receptor modulators). They help to deflect cell-proliferating estrogens from the alpha (cancer causing) receptors. Best known are red clover and soy isoflavones. In this way, parabens also serve as SERMS but they are 600 000x weaker than red clover.
People who are deficient in iodine become more vulnerable to thyroid cancer, stomach cancer, breast cancer and ovarian cancer. According to well documented research an iodine deficiency causes decreased resistance to malignancies. Iodine and selenium are key minerals in fighting cancer and strengthening the immune system. Selenium is a mineral that helps to protect the chromosomes. We can take more probiotics, vitamin C, vitamin D and omega 3 oils to facilitate our resistance to cancer. We can top up on calcium and magnesium supplements to maintain systemic alkalinity. To fight cancer on the battlefront we rely heavily on cruciferous vegetables, but DIM capsules are more effective. To the degree we neglect adequate supplementation we make ourselves more vulnerable to cancer, so don’t forget the iodine!
The Iodine Story by Sue Visser. Issue 50, Natural Medicine Magazine.
Dr. David Brownstein (http://www.drbrownstein.com/)
Dr Jonathan V. Wright’s Nutrition & Healing Vol 6, Issue 3 March www.fsphealth.co.za
http://www.life-enthusiast.com/index/Products/Iodine References provided by: Mike Adams, the Health Ranger Editor of NaturalNews.com Thursday, November 19, 2009. Accessed: June 2011.
Additional information – not part of this article References provided by: Mike Adams, the Health Ranger Editor of NaturalNews.com Thursday, November 19, 2009. Accessed: June 2011. Breast Cancer: A Nutritional Approach by Carlton Fredericks, Ph.D.
Stopping the Clock: Longevity for the New Millenium by Ronald Klatz and Robert Goldman
Alternative Medicine the Definitive Guide, Second Edition by Larry Trivieri, Jr.
Herbal Medicine, Healing and Cancer: A Comprehensive Program for Prevention and Treatment by Donald R. Yance, j r.,C.N., M.H., A.H.G., with Arlene Valentine
Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 4th Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC
Textbook of Natural Medicine 2nd Edition Volume 2 by Michael T. Murray, ND
Fundamentals of Naturopathic Endocrinology by Michael Friedman, ND
Antidepressants, Antipsychotics, And Stimulants – Dangerous Drugs on Trial by Dr David W Tanton, Ph.D.
Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It by David Brownstein, M.D.
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2. Abraham, Guy, The Wolff-Chaikoff Effect: Crying Wolf? www.optimox.com
3. Brownstein, David, Iodine, Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It, Medical Alternative Press, Pages 20, 38-39, 80-81, 2004. Also conversations and lecture notes.
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8. Vermiglio F, et al, Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders in the offspring of mothers exposed to mild-moderate iodine deficiency: a possible novel iodine deficiency disorder in developed countries.
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From the Internet: a warning about X ray protection for thyroid
On Wednesday, Dr. Oz had a show on the fastest growing cancer in women, thyroid cancer. It was a very interesting program and he mentioned that the increase could possibly be related to the use of dental x-rays and mammograms. He demonstrated that on the apron the dentist puts on you for your dental x-rays there is a little flap that can be lifted up and wrapped around your neck. Many dentists don’t bother to use it. Also, there is something called a “thyroid guard” for use during mammograms. By coincidence, I had my yearly mammogram yesterday. I felt a little silly, but I asked about the guard and sure enough, the technician had one in a drawer. I asked why it wasn’t routinely used. Answer: “I don’t know. You have to ask for it.” Well, if I hadn’t seen the show, how would I have known to ask? Someone was nice enough to forward this to me. I hope you pass this on to your friends and family.